The WSJ reporter who took down Theranos
Yashar Ali of New York magazine profiles Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, the reporter whose stories led to the demise of blood-testing company Theranos.
Ali writes, “The reporting that brought down a unicorn is contained in 22 small notebooks stacked neatly in a guest bedroom in the Brooklyn apartment Carreyrou shares with his wife, Molly Schuetz, an editor at Bloomberg News, and three children. Carreyrou, who grew up in France with a French journalist father and an American mother, has already won two Pulitzer Prizes, both shared with colleagues. But he has sole ownership over the Theranos story to a degree that is rare in journalism.
“‘Theranos was a combination of fraud, with hubris mixed with incompetence,’ Carreyrou told me in his precise, economical manner. ‘Some part of Sunny and Elizabeth, I believe, knew they were committing fraud. Knew that they were lying to investors, to a lot of people. But part of them also were convinced that the Theranos technology that they were working on — which they knew was still a work-in-progress — that it actually was revolutionary. That it actually was great,’ he says.
“Having met Holmes twice — first at Theranos headquarters to discuss proposed health-care legislation (I worked in politics at the time), then at David Boies’s 75th birthday party in Las Vegas — I can attest to how charming and captivating she was in person. Modeling herself on Steve Jobs, down to the simple uniform of a turtleneck and slacks, she sold her vision masterfully. She spoke in a voice that was so deep it would take people by surprise; Bad Blood reveals that she may have been intentionally lowering it by a couple octaves. At one of her meetings with Rupert Murdoch, according to Carreyrou, the mogul was stunned by Holmes’s phalanx of bodyguards — Murdoch travels with only one.”
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